A drunk driving conviction can have far-reaching effects beyond immediate legal consequences, such as fines, jail time and license suspension. One significant impact often overlooked is the potential effect on professional licenses. Many professionals, including doctors, nurses, lawyers, commercial pilots, truckers and real estate agents, require licenses to practice, and a DUI conviction can put these licenses at risk.
Professional licensing boards typically require high standards of conduct from licensees. A DUI conviction can question a professional’s judgment and fitness to practice, potentially leading to disciplinary actions. The exact effect on a professional license is determined by various factors, including previous convictions and the case’s specifics.
Reporting the conviction
Most licensing boards require professionals to report any criminal convictions, including DUIs. Failure to report can lead to further disciplinary actions, including license revocation. If you’re a professional, always report a conviction and the terms of your sentencing – if required – during the required time and in the mandated method.
Facing disciplinary actions
Once a conviction is reported, the licensing board will typically investigate what happened. Depending on the nature of the sentence and its relation to the profession, the board may take various disciplinary actions. In some cases, you may have the right to appeal the licensing board’s decision if you disagree.
Impact on future licensing
A DUI conviction can also affect a professional’s ability to obtain licenses in the future. Many licensing boards conduct background checks and may deny a license to applicants with criminal convictions. Some licenses may have a time limit for how far back a review is done. Always be honest about your criminal history because a professional license can be revoked for falsification of information.
Anyone who’s facing drunk driving charges should explore their options for a defense. In some cases, a suitable defense may be able to minimize the risks that will impact professional licenses, either by avoiding a conviction or mitigating the consequences of a conviction.